Papal Conclave: Inside the Process to Select a Pope

The 115 cardinals will begin voting Tuesday to choose the new pope.
3:45 | 03/11/13

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Transcript for Papal Conclave: Inside the Process to Select a Pope
Let's get right to rome. The historic papal conclave. Live at the vatican right now where all 115 voting cardinals are in place. Josh elliott is there, too. I love the tweet from greg burke, life is like baseball and tomorrow is opening day at vatican city. And so the bunting has been adorned. There's a palpable buzz here in the paper the 115 cardinal lerkts attended a final preconclave meeting. It's a process that will begin with mass just behind me there in st. Peters and end when that iconic white smoke rises from the chimney of the sistine chapel. This morning in vatican city, the curtains being hung. A literal shrouding of the process to elect a new pope. Tuer than 24 hours from now, the college of cardinals, made up of 115 cardinal electors will move to santa marta. That decision is a source of great anxiety, a sense of responsibility on your shoulders. The possibility that you might be elected makes it even worse. Think it's very natural for them to be a little bit terrified. Reporter: At 10:00 a.M., they'll attend mass at st. Peters basilica. The ambassadors of the countries will be here for that mass. Reporter: In the afternoon, the cardinals will enter the sistine chapel, where they take collective and individual oaths. They'll promise to keep everything having to do with the election secret. The cardinals will sit in two row, on either side of the room to fill out ballots in silts. You go, the ballot paper in your hand, hold it in front of the altar and say, I call on the lord jesus who will be my judge. That's a moment of intense, i would say emotion. Reporter: Once counted, the ballots will be read aloud, recorded in a lernlg, and then put in this fireplace. They're doing everything they can to help us tell whether the smoke is black or white. Do you anticipate anything like 2005? I think they have probably done tests to make sure they can produce white smoke this time. Reporter: To get the required two-thirds majority, the next pope will need 77 votes to be elected. An idea of what will go on inside the sistine chapel. But the voting is secret and anonymous. They've become self-forgers. The cardinals are instructed to disguise their handwriting. Any insight on how long this could take? As you know, there's precedent both ways. There was a conclave that OCCURRED IN THE MID 1200s THAT Lasted almost three years. However, it's been over 100 years since one has lasted longer than five days. However, if you walk the streets here, grab an italian tabloid, anybody will tell you any number of days. Father walk said he tho since the extraordinary circumstances of the resignation, the cardinals have had a month to think about it. It could lead to a longer con cliv

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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